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STUDENT PROFILE

Fin Gao

Major:
Biochemistry
Graduation Year:
Spring 2016
"When everyone started contributing their ideas, the intimidating problems no longer looked frightening. It made us realize how strong we could be as a group."

What has been the most rewarding part about working at the Sanger Center?
When wrapping up at the final meeting with my facilitators last semester, one of them took out an enormous card from underneath the table. “We wanted to give you something for all your help with semester, Fin,” the student said. I was surprised and speechless! I found the back covered with notes from each student describing how I was helpful to them. Instances like this remind me that all the efforts I put into helping students succeed makes a real difference. The opportunity to be part of students’ growth and success in a class is without a doubt the most rewarding part of my job!

What has been the most surprising or unexpected aspect of your job?
Before I took on the job as a peer coordinator, I never knew how much I would learn from my facilitators and how incredible it is to work with such amazing students. I found myself continuously humbled by their creativity to solve problems that arise in study groups and how they support one another. This inspired me to work even harder to provide them with the right resources they need to succeed.

Tell me about a time you worked with a student (or group of students) and were particularly proud of the outcome.
When I was a facilitator, I remember cracking open the practice problems the professor gave us before the first exam. While no one said anything, I could tell that working through the problems seemed like a daunting task. However, my co-facilitator and I said, “Okay guys, we can do this together.” When everyone started contributing their ideas, the intimidating problems no longer looked frightening. It made us realize how strong we could be as a group.

What advice would you give to incoming students about being academically successful at UT?
Don’t get discouraged by a bad grade. I have always found that mistakes make for a more fruitful learning experience. Look for resources and people around you for help. The PLUS program definitely helped me develop maturity as a student. I only wish I had discovered it sooner.